Accra, March 29, GNA - The 2004 World Food Prize Award has been given to Dr Monty P. Jones, the Executive Secretary of Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) based in Accra, Ghana. Dr Jones, a Sierra Leonean, won the award, also known as the 'Noble Prize for Food and Agriculture' for his work on the development of the New Rice for Africa (NERICA), new rice varieties that combine the sturdy resistance to pest and diseases of the African rice and the high productivity of the Asian rice.
There are currently 30,000 hectares of rice farms in West Africa that are cultivating NERICAs. The award is also in recognition of his role in fostering collaboration between international research organization from Asia, Africa and Western countries. This is the first time an African Scientist had received the prestigious award.
The World Food Prize honours outstanding individuals who have made vital contributions to improving the quality, quantity or ensuring availability of food throughout the world. A statement from FARA signed by Maxwell Adjei-Fah quoted Dr Jones as saying that agricultural research had a big role to play in achieving food security in Africa. "FARA as the agricultural research technical arm of the New Partnership for Africa's Development could contribute a lot in achieving this."
Dr Jones expressed the hope that more investors would focus their work on African Agriculture, the statement added. The work on NERICA development had already received the King Bedouin Award in 2000.